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Everything posted by LucByard

  1. LucByard

    AG - M.A.N.T.I.S. Training Camp

    Please transfer all of my credits to SpacerSteve. Thank you.
  2. LucByard

    [O - E03] Extraction 1.3

    And gladly taken as such You appear to have used a different method to get the 120 degree positioning though it's hard to see from your photos. Have you connected the outer manifold to the technic holes on the wheel-rim piece or is the 3-way axle I used still in there somewhere? 'future continuity' perhaps. I haven't used that ship in my AG story... Yet
  3. LucByard

    Blacktron landing pad

    Well it took me long enough but I finally organised some formal shots. Here's the first couple and I'll be adding more later to detail all of the different modules that make up the perimeter and the Aerial Intruder. Pad surface: Wide-angle with Aerial Intruder. Legs: Terminal 1: Main Computer. More to follow.
  4. LucByard

    Blacktron landing pad

    Currently in the WIP phase. I'm about four months in and recently put everything together to see how it's going so far. I'm currently trying to finalise the design for the edging below the perimeter walkway and the corner sections that will cover the gap between the perimeter sections.
  5. LucByard

    [M - G03] Speedy Owl

    Location: G03 - New California Tags: Spaceship, land vehicle, spying, piracy. Chapter 18: Speedy Owl Flight Engineer Elliana Seyka was in her element. The Forwarder had not misled them about the ship; it was in good condition, even though the flight-hours had put the expected wear and tear on it. The starboard engine coolant system had all but fallen off due to some failed parts, some of the sensor equipment mounted on the dorsal beam had been lost altogether, as had the ladder to the access hatch. She obviously hadn’t been maintained for a while. But these problems were all fixable... “She’ll fly.” Ellie had told Yseult and Riddaeon with a fun smile on her face. “Needs a bit of work... But she’ll fly.” So for the next few days Ellie had done what she does best and the moment of truth was near. She had fixed the coolant system first. It was the most difficult of the jobs that needed doing but she was reluctant to test the engine until they had more fuel. That, it turned out, The Forwarder could have explained better. The T-420 B had been drained long ago and fuel was not only not in the price, it wasn’t even an extra. They were out in the middle of nowhere and the nearby fuel reservoir was also empty. Ellie had wondered how it might have ended up out here, a hastily built platform and no leads to the fuel tank. Yseult had told her the owner was probably hiding it. Octan had spread so quickly; could locals really be blamed for wanting to keep what was so precious to them away from the gaze of a mighty corporation. So here it sat, somewhere deep in the Northern Andreas flats where the ‘seasonal lakes’ of New California amounted to vast areas of ground seepage that turned it a muddy grey. A plume of dust harked the approach of a vehicle. Yseult’s attention was drawn as soon as it became more than undefinable haze. Both she and Ellie were atop the ship’s central beam connecting replacements parts for the long-range navigation array. She tapped Ellie and pointed to the horizon. Ellie raised her vidoculars, it took a moment to locate and focus the approaching object... “A speeder.” She announced. “Some kind of van...” She lowered the device an looked at Yseult... “Octan colours.” A moment later they were both clambering down the rear of the ship onto the gantry Ellie had constructed. Once on the ground, they both moved round to the front and watched the approaching vehicle using the platform and overhanging front of the ship as cover. Two minutes later the van was clearly visible without electronic aids. What was it doing out here? They were so remote, surely, it could not be a coincidence. A minute more and than van was cruising slowly up to the ship. It turned and parked nearby, the hiss and whine of the hover system powering down interrupted only by the occasional gusts of wind. After a few moments, the rear door lifted and a man emerged. The tension in Ysult’s shoulders released with a tingle as she recognised Riddaeon beneath the green cap of the Octan uniform he was wearing. Both women stepped out and headed towards him as he began unloading first a large hose, then canisters in clear Octan colours. “You could have told us.” Yseult proposed. “Lucky for you we don’t have a rocket launcher. No?” She added. “I had to disable all communications.” Riddaeon responded. “I couldn’t secure a way to buy the fuel we need so...” He pulled the last canister from the van. “... I improvised.” The two canisters of fuel and two of antimatter weren’t much but it would be enough, unladen, to get them to Forring and friendlier surroundings. “We should leave quickly.” Riddaeon announced as he helped Ellie with the long hose-like fuel feed he’d brought. “There’s a MANTIS ship in orbit. It’s put Octan orbital control on alert and we don’t want to still be here if reinforcements arrive.” It took a couple of hours to add the fuels and run a full systems check. Ellie left the last part to Yseult who raced through every reading and indicator with inherent pilot instinct. This wasn’t a military ship, it was a crate, a bucket with engines, a box runner. Ellie was in the ops chair viewing the engine management system. With two lift engines, four drive engines in two types and various manoeuvring outlets, it was unusually complicated for such a small freighter but once she realised it worked more like a hover-crane, she soon had a handle on the systems. With the two multi-layered centrifuges spooled, Yseult pressed the ignition and after a few worrying sparks, they burst to life. “L-one, L-two flow is steady.” Yseult announced. “Check... Drive engines primed.” Ellie responded. “We’ll just use the front drives until we break atmo. It will be slower but use a lot less fuel.” Yseult said. Ellie worked her console. “Fuel gates configured.” She said after a moment. “Ready for drive engine start.” Outside the ship Riddaeon stood by the van and watched for any external signs of problems. He was no engineer but better that than just an onlooker, he thought. In a flare of light, the two forward drive engines ignited, then settled to their idle flow-rate. Then, with a creek of metal joints that had been stood still too long, the weight on the landing gear eased and the ship slowly raised up, the rear first but not by much and shortly thereafter the front, the small incline moving the ship gently forwards off the platform. The nose was soon climbing though and as power to the drive engines was increased, a left-banking climb was entered. Soon after, it was gone. Riddaeon looked around the rudimentary platform and noticed the sensor dish. He climbed up on to the platform and brought the system on-line. A mechanic he wasn’t but a spy... That was different. And so too perhaps was the previous owner. Their security did not take long to bypass. Octan’s would have been harder but the work had already been done and soon, he was into New California’s orbital network grid. Communications, ship positions, it was all here, but not what he was looking for. He removed a small device from his pocket and held it close to the computer. A blinking light on it soon went solid and the word ‘UPLOADING’ appeared on the screen. Once completed, Riddaeon deactivated the system and taking one last look around, casually returned to the van, closed the door, started the engines and drove away. Judges: The hover-van is a variant of the one used previously. The changes are cosmetic - I leave it to you to decide if it's enough to satisfy the tag. Container not to be judged. Thank you everyone for reading. This ship has been tweaked and adjusted a lot during its life and I am now so very pleased to present the final version.
  6. LucByard

    [M-H03]Subterranean Terrors

    Another top-notch entry. There's so much to like here. Your rugged military/industrial design style always impresses.
  7. LucByard

    [M - G03] Still Flying

    Lovely organic design.
  8. LucByard

    [M - G03] Speedy Owl

    Thanks. I do love this one. I hope the extra picture give you a good insight into the design. Thank you. While Upsilon has set a longer arc in motion, this chapter also brings to an end Yseult's opening arc as she has gone from being found on Marphacia to being back in the pilot seat of a freighter. While the last three chapters have lead directly into the next, I feel very open-ended now so I'm going to throw some ideas around and see where it goes. : )
  9. LucByard

    [M - F04] The Forwarder

    Location: F04 - Illustria. Tags: Civil, Building. Previous chapters can be accessed from the AG player list here. Chapter 17: The Forwarder. Yseult and Riddaeon walked down the expansive row of shipping containers in the corner of the yard. The air was filled with the heavy industrial sounds of a busy freight port. Cranes, walkers, ships and voices all working through the night to keep the cargo moving. Freight... No wonder Yseult looked so at home; this was her world. Eventually, in what appeared to be a small clearing between the stacks was a lone grey container with ‘IFA’ painted on the side; the acronym for the Independent Freight Association - a Galaxy-wide union for tramp freight operators that acted as a focal point for customs and contract negotiations with the various governments and corporations of Andromeda. Their influence had diminished somewhat in the past year as the ‘big three’ had favoured discounts offered by larger shipping lines or recruited small operators into their own fleet but in some form or other, the IFA was still here. It had taken a string of calls and deals to get here and Yseult had refused to tell Riddaeon who it was she was trying to arrange a meeting with. They were supposed to be acquiring a ship... This didn’t look like a starship sales office. Riddaeon knew there were all kinds of small underworld operations going on in the Galaxy but didn’t think Yseult would have been so involved or why they would be going here for a ship when they could requisition one from the MANTIS fleetyard. Yseult rapped on the container door, the sound reverberating through the metal, then she stood, arms folded and leaned against the door frame. She looked Riddaeon over. “Just remember.” She informed him. “Let me do the talking.”. Riddaeon might have objected to the demotion but the clunk of the locking mechanism on the door releasing prevented him. Yseult grabbed the lever, pulled the container door open and stepped in. The container was dim; pale blue lights along the floor and ceiling edges gave the interior an almost misty hue. Directly in front of Yseult was a low table with two chairs positioned opposite each other and stood next to the far chair, a man, stood poised with one arm behind his back. “Yseult Brenneaux!” The man asked in a voice thick with memory and nostalgia. “Brenneux.” She corrected him. The man’s face turned quizzical. “Are you sure?” He asked. Yseult ignored the question and proceeded to seat herself in the nearest chair. The man looked at Riddaeon, his eyes fixing on the agent. “And who would your MANTIS... associate be?” He asked, his tone changing to one of near disgust. Riddaeon was taken aback. He’d worn civilian clothing to keep his allegiance discreet but the man still knew. “We’re not here on official business”. Riddaeon replied. “Of course not.” The man said. “You wouldn’t have gotten half way here if you were.” “His name is Riddaeon.” Yseult interjected to break the tension and avoid the tedious posturing she could sense was rapidly approaching. The man broke into a pleasant, if noticeably fake smile. “Well then.” He said as he sat in the chair beside him and carefully slid the gun he’d been holding back into its clip on the underside of table. “Why don’t you tell me a little about your... Unofficial business and we’ll see if I can help.” “We need a ship.” Yseult said before anyone else tried to engage in small talk. “Fine.” The man replied. “What’s your destination?” “No, to buy.” Yseult responded. The man’s face changed again. More unexpected news. “What about...” He stopped himself from finishing the question. The look on Yseult’s face told him not to pry on this one. He thought for a moment, his eyes looking over both Yseult and Riddaeon - sizing them up, getting the measure of them. “You want a box runner I presume?” He asked rhetorically. “There’s a few around right now. What are you looking for?” Yseult was staring straight at him, hesitant to ask. The man let out a brief smirk. He knew what she was asking for. “I don’t have one of those.” He said, shaking his head. “No-one does these days.” “Something quick then.” Yseult replied. The man tapped a finger on his knee, pondering. He gestured Yseult off the chair. “Stand back”. He said. “I’ll have a look for you.” Yseult got up from the chair and stood aside. When she was clear, the man touched a control somewhere and the table tilted up into the wall of the container. As it did, equipment tilted down from its underside, configuring itself into a screen and control device. The man used the touch controls in front of him. “There’s not a lot this time of year.” He said from behind the screen. “There’s always more around Marzn when new models come out but I know a few people who’ve always got something to sell...” The screen tilted back flat allowing the man to look straight at Riddaeon. “... For the right price.” He added. “But that won’t be a problem for you I suppose.” Riddaeon hoped not but this project was off the books and with Big Sal on the run, access to funds wouldn’t be as easy as it usually was. The man looked over to Yseult. “Tee Four-Twenty? Might need some work but she’s in better condition than most.” “Speedy Owl?” Yseult responded. The man gave a single, confirming nod. Yseult considered the option for a moment. “Okay.” she continued. “We’ll take a look.” The man put the data on a small bio-chip and handed it to Yseult. He looked at her as she went to take it from his hand. “Wherever you’ve been.” He said quietly. “It’s good to have you back.” There was warmth in the words. Yseult’s fingers clasped the chip but the man’s hand held it firm. “There’s always work for a good box runner.” He added. Yseult stopped in her tracks. The man everyone called ‘The Forwarder’ had given her a lot of work in the past but there was a reason no-one knew his real name; some of the work had paid a lot more than the usual rate. But then sometimes, when consignments had been thin on the ground and she was on the verge of having to choose between food and fuel, she knew he’d paid her to run empty containers and put just enough in her account to keep her operating. She was grateful for that. “Thank you”. She said. The Forwarder released the chip and gave Yseult a small acknowledging nod as she took it. She nodded back and turned to leave as a loud metal creak came from Riddaeon already opening the door. Can’t wait to leave. The mechanical whirr of gears sounded, the console once again became a table as Yseult walked to the door. Turning back just before she left. She went to say something but it caught in her throat. She hesitated, changed her mind, turned and left. “Another time perhaps.” The Forwarder said quietly to himself, an air of calculation about him like a chess player considering the multitude of possibilities and implications of an unexpected move. Thank you for reading everyone. I hope you enjoyed it. All comments and questions welcome.
  10. LucByard

    AG - Introduction and Discussion

    You mean the MANTIS plan to invalidate Octan entries?
  11. LucByard

    AG - M.A.N.T.I.S. Training Camp

    Yseult Brenneux, somewhat reluctantly, bought a pirate hat... She wasn't impressed. LucByard purchases 'Pirate Hat'.
  12. LucByard

    [M-H03] New Business Ventures

    I love the effort you've put into lighting and the round console is a great design.
  13. LucByard

    [M - F04] Upsilon

    Location: F04 - Illustria. Tags: Military Building. Previous chapters can be accessed from the AG player list here. Chapter 16: Upsilon. “It was dangerous…” the fuzzy holo-image of the hairy man said, his words only just discernable above the crackle and static of a signal that was being bounced and routed through countless locations and servers to avoid detection. “… Aiding the return of an Octan operative when you could have eliminated him… Treasonous, even.” It was a suggestion Riddaeon had contemplated himself ever since leaving Vyken Tyros at the spaceport with his false identities and his tickets back to Octan. But in that time, he had also reasoned his answer. “If you’re right…” He responded. “… And we cannot tackle this alone, MANTIS may not be enough, we need contacts in the other corporations and we need the measure of them.” “And what is the measure of this one?” The holo-image asked. Riddaeon thought for a moment, recalling the Octan agent he had picked up in the clearing on Donwarr. Tyros had been careful about what he had said in their conversation. Riddaeon had gleamed no secrets, but he hadn’t tried to. He wanted to know the man, not the corporation. “He’s loyal…” He answered. “… But principled. It will be where those two separate that we will have leverage…” Riddaeon paused for a moment, considering. “His time on Donwarr has affected him. He’s seen what The Quarrel did to the civilians. The kind of things employees don’t get told.” The holo-imaged crackled as the signal re-routed. It couldn’t stay connected the same way for too long. “Do you think he will be able to convince her?” the hairy visage asked. Riddaeon thought for a moment. That would be a feat. She was not easy to convince of anything. She was an idealist, a believer. But so was Tyros. “Maybe” he finally replied. “But he wouldn’t do it alone. He’d convince someone else first.” “Who?” The image asked. Riddaeon’s eyes gleamed with the knowing of a plan not yet fully formed. “Someone who trusts him.” He said. “His student… and her aide”. The hairy visage contemplated the revelation and the disapproval turned to near excitement. “Then we are ready?” it asked. Riddaeon nodded. “Good.” The image continued. “I will send you the information retrieved with the cypher Yseult acquired… She will find Upsilon for us. And then… So many questions will be answered.” An hour later, Yseult entered the small makeshift office that Riddaeon had made for himself somewhere deep within Sentinel, a surveillance outpost that had been built at the end of The Quarrel on the edge of MANTIS territory to observe and analyse Octan activity, of which there had been too much lately to ignore. She sat down in a seat at the end of his desk, a sheen glass black desk with a built-in keyboard and transparent 3D holoscreen display. “So.” Riddaeon opened with. “I hear you managed to crash another ship into yet another one and lose the new engine we built for it all in one mission.” He let it hang there for a moment. Yseult wasn’t sure if he was being humorous or if she should floor him for the criticism. She just sat in silence which she immediately realised probably made her come across as cold. I hate when people aren’t clear. She thought. I never know how to respond. Riddaeon sat back in his seat raising his hands to concede that his quip probably hadn’t been as successful as he had hoped. “You're a good pilot" he added to try and ease the unintentional tension. "You make it back when others wouldn't, and I think you’re ready for your real mission here.” That caught her attention. “Real mission?” She asked. “You probably figured out that you joining MANTIS wasn’t a coincidence… You were marked for recruitment, by me, to a specific task. A covert operation that no-one else, even in MANTIS knows about. Except for Big Sal, of course.” Yseult recalled her uneasy conversation with Riddaeon in the depths below Uplink the day she nearly rode away from it all. He tried to tease her with information then too. He wanted her to want to know. She had a feeling he was just as eager to tell her anyway. “Lucky for you I chose to stay this long.” She proposed. “Well… Quite.” Riddaeon conceded. “A number of Big Sal’s recent experiments have...” He looked for the right words. “... Not yielded the results we expected. When Big Sal reviewed the data, he found that the experiments didn’t fail, they were never, even on paper, going to achieve what he was trying to do.” “Why even do them?” Yseult asked. “When he re-did the equations, they all came out different, yet familiar. He believes he did them right the first time, but someone... or something was changing them”. “Sabotage?” Yseult proposed. “We thought so.” Riddaeon responded. “But that possibility has been eliminated. No, either Big Sal is actually the worst scientist in the Galxy, or some... thing has somehow been changing the equations and forcing his experiments to fail.” The revelation seemed lost on Yseult who’s face told him on which option should would put her money. Riddaeon knew why; from the outside, could you blame anyone for not taking Big Sal seriously? If he was to convince Yseult, he would have to let his guard down a little. “He may look like a crazy wild-eyed mad scientist from some comic book.” He said. “But I’ve been through more with Big Sal than anyone knows. I wouldn’t be here if it were not for him.” Riddaeon looked pensive. What he said next, he said with complete conviction, complete belief. “If Big Sal says the equations were altered... Then they were altered.” “I am just a pilot.” Yseult responded. “You’re unpredictable.” Riddaeon quickly interjected. “Big Sal ran new equations... traps. He believes that to bring whatever is doing this out into the open, we need something he called ‘Upsilon’. He doesn’t think the corporations can find it, they’re too organised... Too predictable. He believes that to find Upsilon, we need something...” “Unpredictable.” Yseult finished. Riddaeon opened his arms, palms out and gestured. And here we are. Yseult was considering the proposition. “What is this Usilon?” She asked. Riddaeon was hesitant in his admission. “We don’t know.” He replied. “We don’t know what it is or where it might be. Big Sal is working on a way of detecting it. He’s using the cypher you extracted to access Octan’s sensor network. If he picks anything up in MANTIS or Octan space, he’ll tell us where to go. That’s why we need you. Everyone else is too... Corporate.” Yseult considered the plan. It didn’t make much sense to her; it sounded full of things she wasn’t being told. “And if I walk?” she asked. Riddaeon grimaced. Any other employee would’ve saluted and been half way across the Galaxy by now. Why did she have to be so difficult? “Then we may not find out ‘who’, ‘what’ or most importantly ‘why’ until it’s too late.” Yseult recalled the dreams she had on Donwarr, the creature kneeling over her, speaking to her. You must find Upsilon. Coincidence? It didn’t seem likely. It felt like Riddaeon wasn’t the only one wanting her to do this. She looked Riddaeon in the eye, a confidence had appeared on her face, and was that even a small smile. “I need a ship.” She said. “No problem.” Riddaeon responded. “This is MANTIS. Take your pick”. Yseult was shaking her head and the smile had grown. She’s got a plan. He thought. “Not one of your ridiculous flying advertisements.” She said. “A real ship... A proper ship... A box-runner”. Her face changed. She’s remembered something. Riddaeon thought. Nostalgia. Something from her past. “And I know who we must see to get one” She said. Her personality had changed. There was something in her eyes that Riddaeon had not seen before. Life. He leaned forward. The tables had turned; now she was the one in the know. He was the curious one... And he had to know... “Who?” Thank you for reading. All comments welcome.
  14. LucByard

    [ O - G10 ] Vanguard

    I like the leg design with the opposing robot arms connected by the T. It's simple but looks really mech/organic.
  15. LucByard

    [K - G09] "Watch out!"

    The water is nicely sculpted and very well lit to convey the water/spray in motion.
  16. LucByard

    [O-H04] Before Too Long

    Like the cross-processing effect on the flashback photos. Gives them a dated look. And the red hand... Have I seen that before somewhere? Looking forward to seeing such a strong idealist thrown into moral conflict... I also like the chairs at the base of the pillars at Dad's front door. Well put together.
  17. LucByard

    [M-G02] Relic From An Old War

    This is a wonderful build and I do love the look of that MOC Allied Avenger. At first I thought it was original, then I started noticing all those little things that show it's a new design. My Quadstar is essentially an evolved Blacktron pod and the GATE engine I built for 'The Engineer' was Allied Avenger inspired, they just ended up being in the wrong colours so a proper Avenger is still on me 'to do' list. I also like he insinuation that even though MANTIS are 'sort-of' baddies, there's something so 'baddie' about Blacktron that it worries even them!
  18. LucByard

    Microspace Fighters

    Using the half-beams as a central support for the design works really well. Definitely inspired to have a play around with that now. Is it a 2L bar at the front of the Ingjald?
  19. LucByard

    AG - M.A.N.T.I.S. Training Camp

    Please transfer all of my credits to StarHawk3. Thank you.
  20. LucByard

    [M - G02] Autofreight

    Location: G02 - Freegate Tags: Vehicle, Spaceship. Chapter 15: Autofreight. Her breath had never felt so loud… Or so deep. Conserve your air she told herself. The adrenaline made it hard. She was sat still but her body was in survival mode… Panic. High above the bright white pearl of Freegate, in a quiet and lonely orbit, just far away enough to touch the blackness and silence of deep space, a solitary Quadstar drifted gently, the planet below and the debris-like specs that were the hive of orbiting Human and alien activity visible through to large dome-like cockpit windows… It was beautiful… The round concave window giving the lone occupant a deceptively wide view of open space and the sheer vastness of even this small section of the Galaxy… Yes, it was beautiful… And scary as Hell. Over the previous two hours, Yseult had run through all the options a MANTIS agent in a stolen armed Octan fighter had. There was MANTIS activity on Freegate and plenty of it, but with Octan recently taking control, how close could she get in a fighter? Her mission was covert, even MANTIS didn’t know she was there. She could go to Octan… She has the ship to get there, but what then? She’d heard that Octan didn’t keep prisoners; just took their belongings as a fine and turned them loose. Why pay to keep a criminal when you can profit from one? But that was non-corporates - the contractors and workers who broke the rules… True or not, those rules won’t apply to me.. She thought. I’m with MANTIS now. She thought of approaching an independent vessel but with talk of spiders and Dust Demons… Could she take the risk? Her thoughts turned to the GATE drive: If Octan found it will they know what it's for?.. Will they be looking for me? Presumably the missing Quadstar had been reported by now, the fight on Donwarr was so long ago. Her attention was caught as an ominous black outline drifted slowly into the bright light of the planet below. By its relative size and position, it eclipsed a significant portion of the illuminated planet. While it wasn't as big as the Jade Sun. the external containers' black clean finish made their size difficult to gauge but it was clearly an old AutoFreight unit of some kind: Harking from the pre-GATE era when trans-Galactic travel was a long and dangerous business, Unmanned freight avoided the risks associated with an occupying crew. The containers were massive to reduce trips and black to make them harder to detect for potential pirates. Only the colour-coded lines belied any information about them at all: Greens for biomass, blues for water and so on. Fitted with GATE drives, they were still used… A big box floating in space… No-one to look… No-one to notice. Yseult recalled her mission on Donwarr: the escort. How had he followed that small freighter through the anomaly?.. She suddenly realised. Of course! The large Autofreight unit was underpowered for its size, using multi-orbit slingshots to get up to speed efficiently. Before the anomalies were discovered, ships like that used slipstream to travel between the stars but while smaller types of vessel like the Speedy Owl or Shire class used raw power to reach slipstream velocity, larger bulk vessels took their time using the planet's pull to gain speed. The same is still true today in respect of reaching the anomaly, it's just easier and the freighter might do it in two orbits rather than five. Yseult's only hope was to intercept the freighter, unnoticed and latch on, riding it back to… Well, Lesser Drigo hopefully. If not… One crisis at a time, she thought. Even with her transponder off, there was no way to maneuver to the freighter without being noticed. She began running calculations through the Quadstars navigation software. Monitoring the freighter, she estimated its course… She was a long way off and… Two blips emerged from behind the freighter. She looked down to the planet, barely making out two black flies buzzing protectively around it… An escort… With MANTIS transponders. As the freighter needed slingshots to reach the anomaly, she hoped they were just there to safeguard it around Octan space: The two megacorps had taken up positions on opposite sides of the planet and tensions were rising. Perhaps when they neared the anomaly, the escorts would back off. That’s my chance. But it would be a high powered dash. She set the computer to monitor the freighter’s time to the anomaly compared to her own at full burn… If the first got smaller than the second, she wouldn't be able to reach the freighter before it entered the anomoly. Right now, with only life support active all she could do was sit in the pale glow of the planet’s light… and wait. The next time the Autofreighter passed it was much closer and well on course for the anomaly. Yseult wished for a moment she’d lowered her orbit; she could have latched on now with time to spare but then she glimpsed the two buzzing flies… still there. She wasn’t after a firefight, especially not against MANTIS. She calmed herself; there would come a moment when she would have to make a move or it would be too late. Not yet, not yet. Once the freighter was ahead of her, Yseult began to power up the Quadstar. One system at a time so as not to cause an energy spike for any listening ears. She tracked the freighter: it was ahead of her now. Not much time. She started the engines, as easy as she could and held the throttle. Her breath deepened, she tensed her arms to stop the adrenaline from shaking them. An alarm sounded: the timings had equalised… She looked at the two escorts – still there. Could she really fly towards them, a fighter at full speed? Was she afraid? She was losing time. You have to do it. You have to. The display in her Quadstar changed as two small blips peeled off. They’re backing off! Her right hand had already pushed the throttle lever to maximum and a bright trail of exhaust plasma streamed from behind the Quadstar’s engines as it powered forward. She gained on the freighter rapidly, angling the fighter slightly towards the planet to shorten the route. She would have to adjust for that later but she needed everything just to catch up. She monitored the freighter. Closer, closer and the escorts: Where were they? She widened the scope on her navigation screen… Both of them were pulling a hard turn back towards the freighter… no, back towards her. Yseult’s left had tensed on the flight-stick. Her index finger brushed the trigger as she tried to tell herself she was ready to use it. If she didn’t make it to the freighter, a fight would ensue. A voice came over the A-com. “Unidentified vessel, this is Watchdog nine; you are on our scope. You are in MANTIS controlled Freegate orbit without authorisation. Power your vessel down and prepare to be escorted to the surface. If you resist, you will be fired upon.” They’re too far away. She told herself, but the blips were coming round fast. She watched their arc – nowhere near as tight as a Quadstar could pull but they would be on her soon. The freighter loomed much closer but her time to GATE entry was still too high but not by much. “Unidentified vessel…” The voice repeated the earlier instruction. Yseult ignored it, a vocal blur on the periphery of what really mattered. The gentle dive had given her extra speed, now she had to get back up again. Normally she would just pull up but that would divert thrust from forward motion… She couldn’t afford that. The lift engines she realised. The antigravity repulsors worked the same as with her hoverbike, a small centrifuge of anti-plasma distorting space-time outwards. The amount needed to reverse the curvature caused by a planet at surface level was significant but up here. It should barely be anything. Activating the lift repulsors, Yseult applied power and the Quadstar began to move back into a higher orbit. The shortcut had given her speed and saved time but she wasn’t sure how much. The new manoeuvre confused the computer’s estimate. After a few seconds, a new figure appeared; desperately close to the freighter’s, its timer ticking down a mere fraction before Yseult’s. Alarms sounded as Yellowish-green streaks blasted past the Quadstar. The escorts. They were almost on her, closing from either side. The freighter, only seconds ahead. She was still gaining. Five seconds. She rolled the Quadstar 90 degrees. I won’t catch it she realised. But it was too late, she was going too fast and a tenth of a second after the freighter disappeared… so did she. Inside the anomaly, the gravitational eddies and currents buffeted the small fighter like a fly in a hurricane. Yseult wrestled the controls. Every anomaly was different inside; age, distance and the amount of space-time that had leaked in from outside all affected the length and difficulty of the journey. With no GATE drive, it was only a matter of time before her ship was torn apart. She was so close to the freighter, but close was no good. Trying to maneouver the Quadstar directly was useless. Inciting a barrel roll, Yseult sent the fighter out and round as tight as she could, knowing that there wouldn’t be enough room to complete the roll; there was a freighter in the way. But that was the point and Yseult accentuated the roll to make the Quadstar hit the side of the huge container floor first, the magnetic floor grappling on. Please hold. Please hold. Alarms and warnings were blaring from the impact… but it held. Thank you for reading. Any and all comments and criticisms are welcome.
  21. LucByard

    Future of AG - It's feedback time!

    Some great ideas and opinions. I think some of mccoyed's concerns could be addressed with a bigger points range for each build (so it can be worth taking two weeks to build a better entry) and taking DP-related tech off the tree (so I don't feel bad if my story is two people having a conversation). Not sure if every player being their own little faction wouldn't be too much for Bob's algorithms to handle though. But Imagine how the board could change if you switched your alliances and took all your earned DP with you! To encourage bold play rather than 'trench warfare' (which I agree we should) Maybe making it easier to capture sectors cut off from their homeworld (like Marden currently is) would encourage more diverse strategies. Could be isolated worlds lose DP faster than others (in suggested rule) or require smaller advantage to take control. More ways of being able to build further from territory would help this too as there could then be several ways to achieve the same goal. While every AG character may well be able to pilot spacecraft, I suspect Yseult would argue that they can't all do it to the same standard and that specifically being a pilot has value and is worth paying for, although she probably thinks that three extra credits aren't nearly enough . Just a couple of thoughts following recent views. I'm sure I'll be here whatever happens.
  22. LucByard

    [M - G02] Autofreight

    Thanks Kodan. That means a lot to me as I'm currently working on a sci-fi novel and when I discovered AG, I hoped it would be a good chance to hone my story-telling craft while building the things I love the most... 'Spacey things' .
  23. LucByard

    [M - G02] Autofreight

    Thank you robuko. I've learnt a huge amount writing for AG so I'm glad people are enjoying it. I'm also enjoying trying to use photography to make the stories more engrossing too (when I have the time to do the compositing).
  24. LucByard

    [K - A06]A new command squad ready for duty

    Love the design. They have a 40K space marine vibe and the heavy weapon looks great.
  25. LucByard

    [M - C02] Come Sail Away

    Love the idea of 'Here' and really enjoying Farrs' character. Looking forward to more. The gondola is beautifully unusual too with some wonderful design elements to it.